ALPHA Measure of Environmental Perceptions


Author of Tool: 

Spittaels, Foster, Oppert, Rutter, Oja, Sjostrom, & De Bourdeaudhuji

Key references: 

Spittaels, H., Foster, C, Oppert, J. M., Rutter, H., Oja, P., Sjostrom, M., & De Bourdeaudhuji, I. (2009). Assessment of environmental correlates of physical activity: Development of a european questionnaire. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity6, 1-11. Spittaels, H., Verloigne, M., Gidlow, C., Gloanec, J., Titze, S., Foster, C., … De Bourdeaudhuji, I. (2010). Measuring physical activity-related environmental factors: Reliability and predictive validity of the european environmental questionnaire ALPHA. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity7, 1-19. Sjostrom, M., Oja, P., Hagstromer, M., Smith, B. J., & Bauman, A. (2006). Health enhancing physical activity across european union countries: The eurobarometer study. Journal of Public Health14, 291-300. 

Primary use / Purpose: 

The ALPHA Measure of Environmental Perceptions was designed to measure the physical features of the respondent’s environment and how suitable it is for physical activity. The instrument is designed for use in European settings.


Sjostrom and colleagues (2006) found that about two thirds of adults in the European Union do not get engage in enough physical activity to access the associated health benefits.  Findings such as this have prompted researchers to investigate the environmental determinants of physical activity. Instruments have been developed to assess the suitability of environments worldwide for physical activity. The ALPHA Measure of Environmental Perceptions is designed for use in European settings. It is composed of 49 items centered around 9 themes: types of residences in your neighbourhood,  distances to local facilities, walking or cycle infrastructure in your neighbourhood,  maintenance of infrastructure in your neighbourhood, neighbourhood safety, how pleasant is your neighbourhood, cycling and walking network, home environment, and workplace or study environment. The results of the measure give an indication of how suitable the respondent’s environment is for engaging in physical activity. The results  could have important implications for area planning and development. 


The psychometric properties of the instrument are reported in Spittaels and colleagues (2010).



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